Christie’s New York Announces First Open Auction of Post War and Contemporary Art on September 21

Christie’s announces the Fall 2011 edition of First Open, a sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art, on September 21, 2011. The auction will feature an international selection of works by recognized post-war masters and today’s leading artists such as Gerhard Richter, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and George Condo, with competitive estimates. The sale will offer a total of 337 lots with a wide range of price points to all collectors of the genre. First Open is expected to achieve in the range of $10 million.


George Condo, (b. 1957), Dispersed Figures, oil on canvas, painted in 1998. Estimate: $100,000 – 150,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2011.

Sara Friedlander, Head of First Open, comments: “First Open has become the ideal collecting opportunity for both new and experienced buyers of Post-War and Contemporary Art — and this sale is exceptional for the combination of high quality and international scope. The selection ranges from the U.S., France and Germany to Japan, Iran, Mexico and beyond. We look forward to kicking off the fall season with this event that is always eagerly anticipated, by seasoned collectors and those who are new to the market alike.”

Leading the sale is a highly important example of the renowned abstract paintings executed by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) in the late 1990s. This Abstraktes Bild (oil on aludibond) painted in 1997 exhibits the dynamism, sensuousness and glorious color that are so highly coveted in this key series of Richter’s work (Estimate: $350,000 – 450,000).

Other highlights of the sale include:

*FELIX GONZALEZ-TORRES (1957-1996), Untitled, silver-plated brass, executed in 1995, Estimate: $200,000 – 300,000 The only permanent sculpture ever created by this poet of the ephemeral, Untitled evokes the joys of love, and the anguish of its sudden loss, through a beguilingly simple juxtaposition of two silver-coated brass rings, mounted side-by-side. The present lot is number five in an edition of twelve.

*BERNAR VENET (b. 1941) 209.5º Arc x 14, steel, executed in 2004 Estimate: $150,000 – 250,000 This classic example of the artist’s monumental outdoor sculptures embodies Venet’s meticulous, intense effort to probe the relationships among art, architecture and landscape. The Palace of Versailles has honored Venet by showcasing his art through November 1, 2011.

*GEORGE CONDO (b. 1957) Dispersed Figures, oil on canvas, painted in 1998 Estimate: $100,000 – 150,000, Subject of a popular and critically acclaimed “conceptual survey” held in early 2011 at The New Museum, George Condo channeled his virtuosity and deep feeling for art history into a masterful, neo-Surrealist style in Dispersed Figures, with its exuberantly calligraphic draftsmanship and knowing evocation of the early New York School.

*NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE (1930-2002) Nana, yarn, lace, string, oil and adhesive on fabric with bronze base, 1965 Estimate: $60,000 – 80,000 The prolific and pathbreaking Niki de Saint Phalle reached a major turning point in her career in 1965, when she created her first Nanas: archetypal figures that celebrate the joyful, colorful, abundant and elemental nature of women’s existence. Christie’s is proud to offer the work believed to be the first of the epochmaking Nanas.

*GEORGE MACIUNAS (1931-1978) Fluxkit, vinyl attaché case and printed matter, executed in 1964-1965 Estimate: $60,000 – 80,000 Under the Fluxus label, George Maciunas used the postal service to market a wide range of other artists’ works. Fluxkit is a representative package of these objects, encompassing the bestknown forms in which Fluxus editions were issued: games, journals, films, interactive boxes and graphic scores for events. Under the Fluxus label, George Maciunas marketed through the mail a wide range of objects made by other artists. The originator of the idea of art in a box was Marcel Duchamp with his ‘Boîteen-valise’. The ‘Fluxkit’, however, was conceived as a collective product rather than individual museum.

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